Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peoples' Participation in revolt of 1857 (contd-1)

The revolutionary outbreak of civil population took place over such an extensive area in the region now known as Uttarpradesh, that it is not possible to refer, even briefly, to all the affected lacalities. Neverthless, as the 'popular upsurge' has been constructed as a struggle for national independence, it is necessary to form an accurate idea of its nature. This can best be done by referring to the incidents that took place in a few selected localities.
Reference has already been made to the outbreaks of Muzffarnagar, Saharanpur, and Bulandshahr. The chief centre of revolution in Rohilkhand was Bareily where the sepoys suddenly and unexpectedly rose on 31 May, and the British officers fled for their lives. Khan Bahadur Khan was the natural leader of the Rohillas. His grandfather Hafiz Rahmat Khan ruler of Rohilkhand, was defeated and killed by the Naw of Avadh with the help of British troopslent by Warren Hastings. As the head of the family Khan Bahadur Khan enjoyed pension and was friendly to British. but when the successful mutiny of the troops heralded the end of the British rule, Khan Bahadur Khan assumed the administration as viceroy on behalf of the Emperor of Delhi.He began his reign b ordering the execution of all the English.
Another important centres of revolt was Farrukhabad. The commencement of Fategarh was about six miles from this place.The sepoys of the 10th N.I. mutined on June 18and formally placed the Nawab of Farrukhbadon the throneunder a royal salute, and tendered their allegiance to him. Even when the mutinious sepoys of 41st N.I. from the neighbouring district of Sitapur asked for a shareof it, they refused to divide the spoil.The Nawab, Tuffuzal Hussain khan, then set up an administration with the help  of the old native officers.
The outbreak at Bijnor possesses some features of special interest. it was not a military station and offers an undiluted picture of the revolt of the civil  population. The more respectable classes. The plunder of tahsils, burning, and other usual excesses were commtted by the Gujars, Banjars, Mewatis, Jats, Chauhans, and escaped prisoners over an extensive area. Even more respectable classes joined the fray, the lead being taken by Mahmud Khan, Nawab of Nazibabad, who arrived at the at place with a brand of sturdy Pathans to take possession of the rich treasures which were kept at the station. The magistrate, subsequently known as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
Bareilly, Farrukhabad, and Bijnor, furnish typical pictures of the numerous tiny kingdoms that were established all over Rohilkhand as a result of the withdrawal of the British.Though some of them nominally acknowledged the authority of Delhi, they were all independent for all practical purposes.       
In some places, as in Moradabad, these tiny kingdoms, left by the British as parting gifts, proved a veritable apple of discord between rival candidates chosen by different sections of mutinous sepoys. The popular upsurge at Budaun is instructive in so far as it shows very clearly how different classes used the movement to their own advantage..